Warning — This article contains spoilers for the first episode of Loki.
Loki has opened up a new branch of the MCU by doing a deep dive into the multiverse.
Directed by Kate Herron, the latest Marvel series picks up right after the events of Avengers: Endgame after an alternate version of Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief escapes with the Tesseract during the Time Heist.
Loki reveals that the titular character was apprehended by the Time Variance Authority, thus leading to a time-hopping adventure to save the sacred timeline against a mysterious yet powerful variant.
Given that Loki deals with multiversal affairs, it is widely assumed that the show will affect future MCU projects.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige pointed out that the show is “tremendously important” in the franchise's world-building while revealing it will have “more impact on the MCU than any of the shows thus far.” Michael Waldron, the series creator, also teased a potential connection to the famous Secret Wars storyline from the pages of Marvel Comics, seemingly hinting that this is the endgame of the next chapter of the franchise.
Now, a significant Easter egg from the debut episode could serve as major evidence that Loki is setting the stage for a massive crossover down the line.
A LOKI AND WANDAVISION CONNECTION
During the first episode of Loki, Miss Minutes of the Time Variance Authority narrated an introductory video of the organization to Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief.
In the video, Miss Minutes explained why the TVA exists, ranging from the institution's history all the way to the potential repercussions if a variant “veer off the path the timekeepers created."
Miss Minutes coined this drastic consequence as a “Nexus event,” revealing that this development could “branch off into madness” that could ultimately lead to a multiversal war if left unchecked:
“Long ago, there was a vast multiversal war. Countless unique timelines battled each other for supremacy, nearly resulting to the total destruction of well, everything. But then, the all-knowing timekeepers emerged, bringing peace by reorganizing the multiverse into a single timeline. The sacred timeline. Now, the timekeepers protect and preserve the proper flow of time for everyone and everything, but sometimes people like you veer off the path the timekeepers created. We call those variants. Maybe you started an uprising or were just late for work. Whatever it was, stepping off your path creates a Nexus event. When left unchecked, it could branch off into madness leading into another multiversal war. Don't worry, to make sure that that didn't happen, the timekeepers created the TVA and all its incredible workers. The TVA has stepped in to fix your mistake, and set time back to its predetermined path.”
This isn't the first time that Nexus has been mentioned in an MCU project. To recap, one of the commercials of WandaVision introduced this idea by showcasing it as an antidepressant drug “that works to anchor you back to your reality. Or the reality of your choice.”
This is directly tied to Wanda Maximoff's grief and trauma in the series that eventually led to the creation of a sitcom-infused Westview.
A MULTIVERSE AFFAIR: NEXUS OF ALL REALITIES
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Nexus is a cross-dimensional gateway that provides a pathway to any possible realities, which includes realities between realities. Aside from being a doorway to the multiverse, the Nexus also helps in maintaining the balance of all realities. Once this balance is damaged, reality will collapse. This is consistent with what Miss Minutes explained during the introductory video of the TVA.
Another concept from WandaVision that has direct ties to Nexus is the presence of Nexus Beings. These individuals can alter the timeline of the reality that they exist in at will, and evidence from the comics suggest that the TVA is closely monitoring them.
It has yet to be confirmed if Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff is a Nexus Being, but her transformation into the Scarlet Witch alongside her possession of the Darkhold could be the major hint that she is on her way to becoming one down the line.
COULD LOKI DIRECTLY AFFECT DOCTOR STRANGE 2?
The TVA's main goal is to protect the sacred timeline and to prevent a multiversal war that eventually leads to madness. That said, the organization's existence might be in question due to the arrival of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It is currently unknown if the events of Loki will directly affect the Benedict Cumberbatch-led sequel, but the creator of the series did tease that it will have “wide-reaching ramifications” across the MCU. While he didn't note any specific project, it would make narrative sense for Loki to have an impact on the upcoming project.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also declined to comment if the two projects are intertwined in some way, leading fans to believe that there is indeed a connection.
On a plot level, it looks like the multiverse will be a four-story arc in Phase 4 that begins with the awakening of the Scarlet Witch in WandaVision. Loki establishes the presence of the TVA, but a major tragedy like the destruction of the organization itself could lead to the collapse of the multiverse.
The multiverse-related fiasco during Spider-Man: No Way Home will be the first of many alternate reality problems, thus leading to the endgame that Multiverse of Madness will showcase.
This is pure speculation at this point, but it seems that more will be revealed in the coming episodes of the Tom Hiddleston-led series.
The first episode of Loki is now streaming on Disney+.